Go Toward the Light…May 2, 2011 By: Donna Hood Crecca Night Club and Bar Magazine
Wistful Drinking at The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas
Las Vegas boasts many a chandelier, but none is quite as uniquely appealing as The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. You don’t sip cocktails beneath the twinkling lights of just another oversized lighting fixture at this hot spot; you imbibe within the luminescent structure itself.
Suspended strands of crystal beads — 2 million in all — surround the three-level bar designed by the Rockwell Group, the team responsible for The Cosmopolitan’s chic multidimensional look. Two layers of the digitally controlled strands create “an undulating string and crystal curtain,” according to the designers. Shrouded in a softly moving, glittering veil, patrons on the middle and upper levels of the venue enjoy a mild sensation of floating long before they finish their first drinks.
The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas serves up creative concoctions, such as the Hot Mule, while enveloping patrons in a sparkling canopy of 2 million crystal beads.
Our group hit The Chandelier just before the Nightclub & Bar Top 100 & DJ Spin-off Party was to kick off at Marquee during our annual show, and we could have stayed all night in the bar’s warm embrace. On the second level, bartender William Fanning took great care of our weary yet somewhat wired group, guiding us through the amazing cocktail list created by Chandelier Mixologist Mariena Mercer. Every tier of the bar offers a different drink menu and vibe, each level presenting a posh, sleek décor motif that invites you to sit, relax and stay a while in the warm glow — an effect compounded by the stunning cocktails.
Mercer is a true tequila aficionado as well as a student of the Eben Klemm school of molecular mixology, meaning she gets creative with some snazzy equipment, making foams, syrups, reductions and other goodies. She recently employed liquid nitrogen to make spirited sorbets and ice creams such as Root Beer Floats with Whipped Cream Vodka Ice Cream.
“The inside level is all about surprises and the unexpected, so many of the cocktails change daily and are not listed on the menu,” Mercer says.
Her passion for innovating is evident throughout the three drink menus, as is her penchant for fresh-focused cocktails, but she also pays homage to the classics. The Cosmopolitan Hot 15 section offers venerable favorites, each with an elevating twist: The sweet vermouth is atomized for the Martini, while amber-hued Montecristo 12 Year Aged Rum informs the Mojito. Among her signature sips is the Thai Down, which showcases Milagro Silver, Domaine De Canton, strawberry purée, Thai chili syrup and basil leaves.
“The Cosmo Hot 15 is a collection of the most commonly ordered drinks in Las Vegas, which are so commonly degraded. We updated them with quality ingredients and traditional techniques all the while ensuring consistency,” Mercer explains. “We weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, just make it better.”
Looking for something non-traditional and lively, but not spicy, to reinvigorate my senses before what was sure to be (and definitely was) a long night ahead at Marquee, I gravitated to the Misty Rose. The concoction of Hendrick’s Gin, St-Germain and rose syrup proved satisfyingly fragrant and delicious — not to mention beautiful — to behold. Our creative director and a fellow gin fan, Rob Ghosh, went savory with the Sage 75, a drink featuring Ransom Old Tom Gin, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, torn sage and fresh raspberry. Associate Editor Alissa Ponchione kicked it up a bit with the Hot Mule — Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka, ginger beer, Angostura Bitters and house-made ginger syrup.
We toasted our good fortune to be able to pause for a few moments during the busiest week of our year and enjoy the work of some of the best designers, bartenders, mixologists and hosts in the business. The Chandelier, while certainly over the top and beautiful to behold, delivered the most basic elements of a good bar: quality drinks, skillfully crafted and cheerfully delivered in an environment that simply made us want to stay longer. That’s something any bar pro should aspire to deliver, whether on the Vegas Strip or Main Street USA. NCB